Neglected 1ft, intentionally.

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by pierreschoonraad, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    During May 2018 I set up a 1ft tank on my stoep. No filtration. No heater. Used coconut hair and osmocote as substrate and capped it with gravel. I added a piece of wood with some moss on it and planted some small crypts in the substrate and added a fair amount of duck weed. The tank is covered with a piece of perspex to prevent evaporation.

    I left this tank for 1 month to settle and did a 100% wc. Filled it up with untreated tap water and added 3 cherry shrimp. There was some ramshorn snail already in the tank, transfered with the plants, and not planned. No food was ever introduced to this tank at any time.

    During the winter this tank got direct sunlight, for about 6 hours a day, which caused some nice green algae growth on the wood and substrate. Shrimp and snails was doing good even though the temp went down to 8°C at times, highest temp I measured was 28°C. As winter passed and summer kicked in the sun shifted and the tank is in shade all day.


    During this time I only topped up the tank with untreated tap water. I did remove some of the plants for another tank but left most of them. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a dead shrimp in the tank and the corps was gone 2 days later. Over a 8 month period this tank was able to sustaine itself. Shrimp and snails are multiplying, not out of controle but also not dying. Algae has turned white, which is due to not getting direct sun light.

    My big reason for doing this experiment was to get an idea of what might happen to an aquarium, or container with water in, when left on it's own. Will it be able to create an ecosystem where life can be sustained in? I do believe it is possible but only as a form of survival. Reason I'm saying this is due to the fact that neither shrimp nor snails have boomed in population. The snails does in fact not reach the same size, as in my other tanks. They max out at about 2mm.

    Will the same apply to stuff we flush down the drain? Yes I know the conditions are not the same but the basics remain the same. Not all fish/plants/inverts/snails need prestine conditions to survive in, but there is a very good chance that if they survive the initial shock of the change in water conditions they will adapt for their own survival.

    As this is posted in the General Discussions section of the forum I will appreciate it if you can take part in this discussion. Has anybody else done something similar to this?[​IMG][​IMG]

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  3. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Very interesting experiment @pierreschoonraad .. thanks for sharing as I think much can be proven from it

    I havent done an experiment like this but I had a comet and shabunkin (gold fish) pond about 3000l + that ran for years without any filtration at all
    Heavily planted with water lilies and other bog plants and some underwater floating plants
    I know they not tropical but... there was a common pleco that lived for years in that pond ... our night temperatures can and do drop to -10 at times although the most common is about -8
    Pond is about 1.5+ meter deep on one side and had full sunlight most of the day

    In my opinion, Your experiment pretty well proves how a lot if not most fish and invertebrates have the capability to adapt and survive conditions very different to their origins and less than ideal conditions

    If you think of the small volume of water in the tank you used, where its much more difficult for a complete ecosystem to develop and establish itself, versus Dams and Rivers with huge water volumes, established ecosystems and huge depth of water where water temperatures dont drop so much it shows very clearly the dangers of fish, plants and invertebrates getting into our water systems

    The other thing that comes to mind is that the surviving offspring of the survivor parents will be stronger than the parents and handle the water conditions better
    and so it will go on as this is how nature works and how animals/fish have adapted to weather and climate changes over the centuries.
    By the time you get to the second or third generation that offspring is pretty strong and established itself with no problems
     
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  4. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Thanks @MariaS. Very interesting to hear more about your pond, very brave move btw for your weather conditions. You havn't got any pictures of the pond? Did you feed them or leave them to fend for themselfs? Rachel O'Leary did a video of gold fish in an abandoned building which is quite interesting to see.



    I believe that you won't be able to do this with most fish types, unfiltered systems. If you can set-up a pond that is heavely planted and exposed to the elements you might well be able to get a complete eco system going. Naturally you will need to look at something in the region of 3000L, like you had, to do this in.

    I have a friend, in Pretoria, who actually converted his unused swimming pool into a guppy pond. They planned to use it as a massive breeding set-up. In this they unfortunately failed, not that the fish didn't breed, it is just near impossible to catch the fish due to the size of the pool.. Will see if I can get some foto's of it.

    I'm fortunate to have done some volanteer work at Pretoria zoo's aquarium and they have a awesome outdoor breeding set-up, unfortunately not used at the moment. The 1 set-up that I think is awesome is a set of about ponds. Each pond is about 1.5m x 1.5m x 1m deep. Shade netting over it to give a bit of protection against the elements and birds. If only I had the space to do something like that my rainbow breeding might just explode.

    Getting back to the point of fish adapting to various conditions. Fish are very adaptable and I want to compare them to humans. I have been staying in Pretoria since 1996. In the beginning I suffered with the heat in summer and loved the moderate winters. During these 22 years my body adapted to the heat, anything under 20 is jacket weather for me. We try to recreate the perfect conditions for our fish to stay in. Not taking into concideration that in the wild there are seasonal changes that they have the capability to adapt too. So dumping a pleco in a river might not kill it at all, just because our winters are so cold. They do adapt and florish.

    In Australia they have massive distruction, of natural ecosystems, due to carp that was introduced a long time ago. Most of these carps came with their own fungas and parasites, to which they were immune, but the native fishes not. This leads to masses of native fish dying, even going extinct, and the carp flourishing.

    Any form of introduction of a foreign species into our local water can lead to big losses in our native spesies. Not due to them out competing for food but just because of the baggage that they bring with them.

    A dead fish/plant/invert will still have live organisms on or in it. Remember that all the live stock we have in our tanks came from some fish farm, where antibiotics and other meds are used freely to prevent rather than cure potential diseases. This leads to bugs that builds up resistance and mutates. A healthy looking fish can still be a the carrier of a lot of bugs. Just ask the discus guys how they struggle to get fish healthy after a minor illness due to this.

    A crap I'm just ranting on now. Let's see what crazy things other people have done.

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  5. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    well .. remember perfect 10 from may 2018

    [​IMG]

    and after a few months of no love till Sept 2018

    [​IMG]
    BTW that light got moved back to lucky 13 ( or should I rather say the power socket ) .. so not light for very very long and no filtration and no attention - did do a few top-ups but no WC since around may.
    Too much light outside .. but yeah things are still alive that I put into the tank, nothing is flourishing .

    [​IMG]

    Maybe I need to d a bit of a clean today on these three.

    Later Ferdie
     
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  6. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Very interestin @f-fish. I see there were some guppies in the left hand tank. Are they still in there?

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  7. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    They sure are .. breeding but not at speed .. will take some better pics when then sun dips down.

    Later Ferdie
     
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  8. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Nice. Will wait for the foto's.

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  9. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    [​IMG]

    this gives you some idea ..

    [​IMG]

    Ok let me start by doing a top-up ... then adding a light.

    See how long it takes to bring them back to life.

    Later Ferdie
     
  10. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Very nice @f-fish. It is amazing how fast algae can get going in a tank. Even with the plants growing good and no direct light they find a way in. Very surprised with the guppies doing so good in the filterless tanks.

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  11. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    More interesting to me .. TDS on these tanks are between 210 and 230 ... before the top-up.

    So no reason why things should not be doing OK in the tanks.

    Later Ferdie
     
  12. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    @pierreschoonraad , I dont have pictures of the pond back then
    My phone crashed at some stage and the hard drive with all the old pictures was stolen whilst Cesar had some contractor doing some repairs at home
    I will still start up my old PC and see if there are any there by any chance

    The pond has been empty for the last three years (I can post a picture of it empty..) as it cracked and needs to be repaired
    However between Cesar building his house and the ray project it has taken so much of our time since then that Cesar hasnt really gotten around to repair it,
    Its also quite away from the house at the far end of my garden (on a small holding) and his plan was to rather build another pond next to his house above mine..
    Well.. he did build it... but the TLB guy got carried away while Cesar was busy with James when they were building the one big tank, and when he looked again he had a small swimming pool instead of a pond
    Needless to say his wife was jumping with joy at the fact that it was big enough for a small pool/splash pool... so...you guess.... it ended up as a beautiful pool next to his patio instead of a pond..
    Hahha Like you guys always say... keep the wife happy... and you can upgrade another stingray tank..


    The pond is surrounded by heavily planted flower beds which did offer protection against the frosty winds although even so the top layer froze every now and then during very cold winter nights
    We used to drain about 60/70% of the water and trim the plants about every three months
    Being surrounded by the flower bed, the sprinklers were switched on every second or third day this kept the pond topped up with fresh water and mimicked rain and i suppose did oxygenate the pond to some extent

    The fish were fed about three times a week
    Usually we fed over the weekend and my garden engineer always took great care in throwing some food in once or twice during the week
    I must add though that we run solely on borehole water.
    The Comets and Shebunkins spawned and had loads babies which we often had to give away
    There were about 6 or 7 koi but the cheap, run of the mill varieties, nothing fancy. They never spawned but they werent that big either.. about 14/15cm.

    Our weather conditions are somewhat strange
    We stay in Randvaal on the Perdeburg range
    Although our winter nights can and regularly hit -8, with the most common being -5/6 the lowest recorded was -12 one night about 4 years ago
    Our daytime winter temperatures in the sun if there is no wind can rise up to 22/23 maybe slightly more
    From 9am to about 3.3/4pm you can walk around in shorts and short sleeves after that time its like you have changed location
    This obviously heated up the water sufficiently during the day so that the deep end of the pond probably didnt drop to the outside temperatures overnight
     
  13. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    So basicly 1 year after I started this tank it was time to take it down. There was a crap load of algae and little moss. The plants in there did exceptionally well considering there was duck weed covering the top, including the colored perspex. Lgae covered the sun side completely so minimum light reached them.

    Biggest surprise came when I found 3 surviving shrimp. Naturally there were snails as well, less than I expected though.

    Will be doing water test to see what the water condition is in after a year without wc.

    Some foto's of the break down. Might upset sencitive viewers and keepers of pristine aquariums.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  14. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Quick foto of shrimp. 2 of them this red other one very light red. Biggest one is about 3cm.

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    Forgot the foto's[​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  15. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    Test scores in and no surprises here.
    Tds - 116 ppm
    PH - color somewhere between 8.5 and 9
    KH - 0.5 dKH
    NO2 - 0.05
    NO3 - <0.05
    NH4 - <0.05

    I would call this a sucsessfull experement. Water stayed good enough to sustain life, inverts/snails/plants. I believe that the algae was a great help in converting bad into good as the other plants wasn't close to enough to support the aquariums health. No surface movement and the top that covered it basicly caused minimum gass exchange.

    This gives me a lot of hope for my next project/experement. I'm a big fan of Rachel O'Leary, might have mentioned her a few times before. She sets up summer tubs to breed nanno fish and shrimp in and just inspired me. I have already got the container, about 80 L. Starting to get plants together, have 2 already. Only going to use aquatic and march plants and as far as possible indigenous plants. Have a Crinium campanulatum, March Lily/Vleilelie, and an Aponogeton natans, not indigenous but have awesome leaves that lies on the water surface.

    So the next thread will be on the set up of the tub and transferring rainbow eggs to it. Very interested to see how this affects their growth rate.

    Foto of the March Lily and Aponogeton natans bulb, in container left side. Yes I'm cheap like that, if I can get 2 bulbs with roots and leaves showing, for less than one plant I get it.[​IMG]

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  16. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Nature is amazing @pierreschoonraad.

    You going to try the Rainbow eggs outside now or in Summer?
     
  17. OP
    pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

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    I'm defnitly doing it @MariaS. This experiment showed me that it is possible to get an eco system, of sorts, going without a fisical filter to keep the water clean. I actually asked Rachel O'Leary if it is possible to do it without any filtration, she uses sponge filters on her tubs, and she said that it is possible if your plant mass is more than the bioload. By using emersed and submersed plants this can be done.

    Seeing that our weather in Pretoria is not that cold during the winter I plan to start the tub up before spring starts. This will give every thing chance to settle and bio film to grow. Green water going. Other water critters to start occupying the tub before I put the eggs in. 24 hour a day food. What more can fry ask for?

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  18. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    And that is the key to any low maintenance tank ... and why when we start a tank get the plants in before anything else.

    Lekker experiment, thanks for the update.

    Later Ferdie
     

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